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tv   Book TV  CSPAN  June 15, 2013 10:15am-12:01pm EDT

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education program to be used during the civil rights movement. >> the life of this wonderful woman is booktv in american history tv look at history and literary life in growing, north carolina. today at noon eastern on c-span2 booktv. and tomorrow at 5:00 o'clock on american history tv. >> jaron lanier argues that digital networks are part of the future. this is an hour and 40 minutes. >> thank you so much. oh, my goodness, it is right. wow. okay, is the audio kay?
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can you hear me? >> yes. >> that's great. i used to live here, so this is extremely familiar as a bookstore to me. i used to haunt it a long time ago when i was younger. i cherish this particular story. i thank you for supporting it. we just lost the last significant bookstore where i live. do not have a bookstore really changes things. i would like to believe that it makes up for, but it really doesn't. this is not the same. these are just really precious places. so this book. i have a bit of allergies today. okay. thirty years ago and someone
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years ago i was part of the circle of young technology gurus who were here who are just on fire with this idea about how we were going to improve the world. we were going to get digital networking to happen. we were going to get user interface experience to happen. we were going to make computing easy and accessible to everyone and it was going to create this huge wave of well-being. our member anticipating this so tangibly that i could just feel that we are going to do wonderful things for the world. i still believe that we will. but in my view and experience, something started to go wrong and has gone pretty bad. i'd like to explain what that as is even understand my motivation and how i came to the position that i have now.
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when huge new waves of technology and efficiency have appeared in the past, they have often been imperfect. they have often created disruptions were little things. but generally the appearance of the interstate highway system or plumbing. vaccines, clean water available with the turn the knob in your home. when all of these things appear, what is undeniable and really apparent is a wave of improvement in well-being for people. all kinds of things are open. i was certain i was going to happen with digital networking. starting on the
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turn-of-the-century, i noticed a pattern that was really bothering me. my friends who were affected, they were not finding this world of new opportunity that i had anticipated would appear. instead i ended up being part of a fundraiser to help somebody get the crucial operation that they needed when they didn't have insurance or something like that. i'm talking about people who are well-known. not the unknown. these are well-known images since. those who were ashamed to know that they needed help. what really hit me was the financial crisis. the developed world. and i'm focusing here on thatis. the developed world. and i'm focusing here on that exclusively for the moment. the developed world at approximately the same time got itself tangled up in financial
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absurdities. you have the most powerful countries losing their credit ratings. you have a loss of social mobility, hollowed out job markets, it insanely tight credit, massive waves of financial fraud or pseudo- fraud. most of all, there was a phenomenon of intense concentration of wealth and influence. and a loss of the broader middle of wealth and influence, a decline of what we call the middle class. this happened in societies all over the world, not just here. all of the developed ones. this just lose my mind. now, when i looked at this, i noticed something that sent chills down my spine. which is that all of the newly powerful individuals who are at the center of the game. and i have to mention i have
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done pretty well on this theme myself. i'm not talking about a remote concept. i'm talking about me and my friends. i know many individuals who have done so well. every single one of us who has done well is somehow close to one of the biggest computers on the internet. i started to realize is that with the system we have created, power was part of the biggest influence on the network happened in politics and media and insurance and nationstates. it was happening all over. so i thought back on my idealism when i was younger. i have been kind of a firebreathing open culture person that helped make up a lot of the rhetoric over years. but we have always believed is
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that if you made information available as an ambient resource, it would create so many opportunities and so much efficiency and so much creativity we fail to consider something, which is if you want to create this utopia where everything is available. computers are vastly different from one another. some are giant server farms and some computers are giant server farms powered by their own power plants or cooled by rivers and even glaciers, exotic ways to try to deal with these giant things we have to build. some of them belong to financial schemes, some of them want to
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social media research companies, some of them long to financiers. they're all kinds of different ones. some of them take over our computers. but they are all basically doing the same thing. so if everyone shares equally, whoever has the best computer gets unnatural advantages. they get advantages that are so profound that they seduce the owners of the largest computers. when you are gifted, when your privilege, you often don't notice it. it is a thing that is invisible. it is a form of player that sneaks into people and you end up taking advantage of your position without ever intending to end it is the most natural thing in the world.
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one way to explain what it's like to go back to an experiment creature from the 19th century. we are going to notice that i will mention it a lot in this talk. i feel that it is, in a way, it echoes the 19th century and the multitude of ways. so there is a creature that i'd like to introduce you to. in a town like this that is so educated, most of you know about this. how many of you have encountered maxwell's demon? well, you never know. okay. so it is somebody you will need if you take a class in introductory thermodynamics. although he's going to talk about physics. and it's really simple. imagine a little daemon that is opening and closing the door.
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big enough for a molecule to fit through. he is watching molecules and he is teaching that each chamber is connected and filled with a fluid, water or air or something like that. and they are watching molecules approach the door. if there's a really really cold one moving nice and slow and smooth, the daemon will let the osi. if it's hot it will go to the right. just by observing this, a separate pot from the cold. once you have done that, you can do something which is open up a bigger door and let the cold and hot mexican and then you can repeat the process and you have perpetual motion. global warming solved. okay. so now they don't always work. the reason it is really interesting, the act of discrimination. the act of dealing with information is real work.
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it is never purely abstract or separated from reality. the act of opening and closing that door and observing molecules takes more power and generates more heat in between sessions. so this is also known as no free lunch. and you can never get ahead of the game. every purported sheet machine turns out to be this if you understand it well enough. now what has happened with big computers as the owners of big computers, without even meaning to, without any bad intent, pretend that they can be maxwell's demon in economics and set of thermal economics. here's how it works. most familiar example is probably american health insurance. the most cherished of american institutions. health insurance is to try to calculate risks and there were
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professionals called actuaries. a pro-gun figures and tables and they work with very poor information, very roughly gathered information. in a crude sense they would try to set up the rates of policies. their job is not really to exclude people by surprise, however. it only became possible when there was is so much data and so much educational power to work with the data that you could pretend to be maxwell's demon. so you gather this to predict who will need insurance. then you open the little door and say that the people unlikely to need insurance gather over here. the people likely to need the benefits of insurance, we put them on the other side of the door. thereby by having the biggest computer, we create the perfect investment. we create the perfect scheme. because we are only insuring people who need it. and we know for sure that we will make a great profit.
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so i will tell the story without naming the specific people. this was in the book originally. the editors and lawyers cut it. there is a little island that is used by the republican establishment for planning retreats. i will not say where the islanders, but i have a consulting gig that helps the largest american insurance concerns when they first got them. and then we will talk about how we would really love to talk about those who need insurance. at that moment there was a weird russian sound. it turns out there was a meteor strike right next to us. [laughter] so those of you who are as
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farmers who are seeking a device to track this, we should really look to the population of health insurance executives. so the metaphor between the perfect insurance scheme should be clear by now. you operate this little door but the problem is it is radiating this heat and this is an infinitely large. so eventually you undermine in which the system made sense. in the immediate sense it is more destructive to others.
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ultimately everyone is hurting those trying to run the perfect investment. this has happened to health insurance in america, which we can see by looking at the state of our country. it seemed too good to be true and they hired a bunch of people who had nobel prizes in turn prizes in economics to be associated with it. it looked perfect at first. guess who pays for? hello, you paid for it i
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remember getting a call from an on. i thought oh, no, you don't want to sell so we will get to that we will get to google. so the thing about it is that even though this always breaks after while, the temptation is so great. because at least in the first phase, it does work. if you have the biggest computer, you can calculate little tiny ways to get the benefits and everything seems golden and perfect.
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it happens to every area of life that we try to organize. this is the fundamental pattern that we have to figure out a way to transcend. it is not going to be seductive. but it's great when it works. so it's like information and we have to find someway to some way to get off of it as a drug, and information. i mention that i will return to the 19th century again and again. and i will return to it now. in the 19th century, a lot of things happen. there was a civil war and lots of new technology and science.
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the 19th century was to find intellectually to an amazing degree by a fear that people would be made obsolete by improving technology. you might not think about that as being a concern. but let me get you a couple of ideas. first of all, the riots of textile workers who were concerned about textile machinery is and that was a lovely title battled resulted in public executions are you i was
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driving, i think i was describing -- i thought it was one radio station but that was another. there is someone going on and on about how they were going to lower barriers to market access. capital is when the flow. there's going to be a lot of stuff and i thought okay, another one of these startups. and it was the strangest thing this includes living with technology. it's like, wow, it really is extreme stuff.
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there are not that many songs from the 19th century that are immediately familiar to us. but the ballad of john henry is one. it is about a guy that is in the race with a robot that manages to win and dies from exhaustion untrained exhaustion. so it's kind of like a race against machines. the literature of the 19th century is with us today. we call it science fiction. the early science fiction, one is an example of hg wells, and the time machine. it is like the descendents of those who own facebook will, sort of the rich ones. but the interesting thing in the is that both sides are making kind of ridiculous and absurd
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remarks about their situation. but if you look at science fiction, and occasionally it is an alien that makes us obsolete. it is almost a question of whether humans will become obsolete or not. that continues to this day with the terminator movies, the matrix movies. on and on. that is the theme over and over again. so it started out a robot anxiety and the 19th century. a very interesting thing happened in the 20th century. we didn't see massive waves of unemployment because of improving technology. of course, the reason was new jobs were created when machines got better. it turned out that those jobs were more dignified and more intellectual and all of that. but it did not happen automatically. there is a thing called the labor movement. it was no small thing, it was a
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difficult movement. in a sense, it was fighting for the right to get paid even if this wasn't as miserable as old jobs. that is something that is often forgotten. well let's imagine that this is located in rochester, new york. we were in rochester, we would remember that it was the center of the manufacturing world. the buggy whip went obsolete because of motorized vehicles became one. dealing with this as a necessity is really a pain in the butt. i don't know if you have done it. there is the feeding, there is the fact that not all of them were that nice. the whole thing is really a big
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nuisance. so having a motorized vehicle is not only cool, but it is so fun. you wonder why people would just pay to drive something like this. if you ever wonder why is the teamsters union kind of a tough union comment had to be tough. even though all you're doing is putting your foot on the pedal. every time that you see a job that isn't utterly miserable and dangerous, you will notice something about that job, which there was some struggle that created a little ratchet work structure, despite the fact that they are not constantly risking death. there is either a union membership or tenure for academics heard something. a little mechanism this is the reason in the 20th century we
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had better jobs to go with technology. it wasn't if people still needed it or not but a judgment hard-fought that even if the new rules for people were more pleasant than the old ones come you could still get paid. unemployment crisis averted. especially in the postwar years. now, at the turn of the 21st century, we suddenly decided to talk about that covenant. let me explain how i see that happening. one of the magical little tools that are available for eyes, seemingly for free is language translation you can get it back.
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seemingly automatically, turned into a spanish essay that is not perfect but readable. google does it, microsoft does it, it is a pretty common thing at this point. the way we talk about a service like this is most commonly as if there is a giant artificial brain and we are privileged to get the services of this artificial brain for free. isn't it a wonderful world we can translate between languages for free. now, there have been times when there was a hope that this brain would be created. it goes back to the 1950s when some of the pioneers were involved. he was one of my mentors and i was very young. he assigns some grad students a
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summer project, seeing if they could translate a couple of languages. it famously doesn't work. what does work is what we call the data were giant corporation aura. we gather up large numbers of translations done by real people and pattern match them to find and then we mashup bits of old translation into sequence to form a new translation. lo and behold, that is not so bad. but the thing is it is not a magic artificial gain. so what we are saying is that as this technology progresses and gets better, that job of
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translating is not like being a truck driver or a cab driver, even though it is not miserable. we have pretended that you don't exist to create this illusion of a giant electronic brain. okay, so this is another example of what i call a siren server where we are talking about this one site. we are going to let all of this go to one side. and all of the people who actually did the work over to the other side. and we will try to make the perfect thing where we own this electronic brain. when big data is involved, when you hear the word automatic, what you should hear is accounting fraud. which is the real people that did the work are being forgotten and hidden behind the curtain.
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there's a stage magic that has gone on. so what is crucial about this is that as long as we keep thinking this way, if we decide on the covenant, even when the misery was reduced, the 21st century will realize the anxieties that people have been made obsolete by her machines. there is no need at this happens, it is not based on reality but a judgment about how we are willing to acknowledge each other. what i'm hoping you can see is a connection between the kinds of roles that people can get paid for and the tendency of who owns the biggest computer to benefit from this possibility. they are two sides of the same
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coin. so every time you use it to improve your situation, you're gathering data from people. if you have to pay for the data, then it would be more like raw materials and you have to pay more for more valuable information that sort of thing. the fact that the information is free to create the illusion that you can be maxwell's demon. that information is never free and that is what we learned in economics. now. we are in a cultural situation right now where in order for me to talk about these things, i have to speak against the people that i like the most. right now if you are on the side of the angels and if you are a
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good person of course you are supposed to love open information and culture in all of this. and i have been really struck that the open source code has become the msg of our culture. in the sense that you can take any boring thing and say, oh, these limits are very interesting. like used underwear being collected in poughkeepsie. it's like i don't want to click on us. i don't want to know about this. and anything so i don't have to read that. [laughter] and then if it says, oh, this is being used and it's like oh, hey, wow. [laughter] that sounds really innovative. i wonder if that will help global warming last night. >> son simon this position of having to speak against and it is not comfortable. i have helped to make the thing
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up. i don't think the open-source people are the biggest problem. but they do create this legitimacy to a problem that is mostly exploded exploited by entirely different people. so the form of the information and what goes with it, that people experience, it is the kind brought to you by silicon valley. it's like, oh, goodness, you get this online course and you know in the back of your mind that your prospects have just gone down for getting a professor job. at the those two things go together. it doesn't mean that broader access to education is necessary. but it does undo our long-term process for short-term benefit. and you you could say, oh, that new information.
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as long as the benefits are routed through computers, whoever owns the biggest computer will gather all the benefits and try to radiate the risk and that in turn divide the cost to everyone else. in the book i go through examples. i talk about a hypothetical thing that you can insert inside your tattoo that will synthesize chemicals for your body how that could create a wave of health and well-being. at the same time, the doctors and pharmacists and chemists and all these people out of work, depending on how it's done, it could be done in such a way that it can get you monetize with whoever runs the routing computer. the greatest and the best are being concentrated around the biggest computers. that is certainly not what we had intended.
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so we might ask how do we get out of this and what we do instead. the way that people experience this is the financial world. the world of high frequency trades. the world of weird leveraged bundled derivatives. there is actually other classes of financial schemes that are not that familiar. these fantastic logistical schemes to move money around at precise moments to avoid paying taxes anywhere. these kinds of things are very commonplace and gigantic at this point. there is an absurdity to them that is invisible to the people. like i have a bunch of those who work with high frequency trades.
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and it's really fun. it is such a neat toy. the thing about it is making trades so fast that there isn't time for information from the real world to get in. so it is technically impossible for these things to be optimizing based upon events and reality. so then there is this other argument about optimizing this market itself. i think that that can be legitimate. only if there is only one monopoly at stake. if there is a multiplicity, they create resonance between each other so then they collectively get money out of the world, radiating this to everybody. you will find this again and again. it seems to make sense. but if you look at the bigger
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picture, it is never a free lunch. i can go over many examples of this. fascinating variations are part of us. how we get out of this? one way to get out of it is to say, we cannot keep this going anymore. we need to give everyone a fair start if the machines get good, we need to have some political process and get this moving. i have gone on all the roads. i don't think they go to pretty places. i have a lot of critics of the new book. one is the person who says, why are you trying to keep markets at all. get rid of it at some point. well, i think that the problem is that politics also screw over people if it is allowed to function on its own terms.
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i think what happens the same kinds of unbridled capitalism occur in a political way. we see communist party seized power or whatever it is. again and again. i don't know how many of you -- i remember being young and trying to live in a household. just finding it to be terribly, terribly difficult. a number of these households were down the road here. it's very hard to make the politics between people really were. it is not because of the lack of an internet but because people -- we are just difficult creatures. i believe that a solution may not naturally happen.
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people are just all over the place. the use of markets, the use of money, it should be understood as something that balances the tendencies of human society money can concentrate power and lead to terrible unfairness. i think this mad hysteria of society and economics can kind of balance each other's worst failure modes. they can want each other's phones to some degree. this is a bit of a complex topic. i hope that i talk about it well in the book. this is a way to not create a perfect society. i think it's always can end in tears, but to add to the process of a balance of different systems so that none of them can go too badly.
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i think of the way america is balanced with a traditional and executive branch. it is an idea where the hope is that each prevents the others from going off the deep end too much. i think it kind of works. i think sometimes we wish that they would work together in a positive sense. but i think we would want the tendencies to go entirely down. i think we think this way about the societies organizing our fares that we know about. the economics, the social processes, they are a little bit different because this is more extract and numerical. that these two systems can balance each other. i think the computation is a third one. maybe these things can balance each other. what i'm trying to do is find a balance. people that have socialist tendencies sometimes think i'm trying to elevate capitalism and i'm trying to think too much about money. but i do not think about it that way. giving you a specific example about how bringing this money
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might create balance instead of extreme capitalist evil or something. one of the trends that is concerning me, and i think a lot of people, it is the proliferation of cloud connected cameras. governments benefit from having this on every corner and thusly populated areas. some of which came from google, they can track people by face or date or all kinds of things. now you have this system were government can know where everyone is and what everyone is doing. wars were fought to keep them from getting this power. now we think that it's cute but some with silicon valley names can do this. [laughter] that is problematic. it's very problematic. so how do you do it? the usual way that you try to undo it is that you usually have some sort of advocacy group and
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you have this or something and we have those that argue with government officials, those who try to sway the regulations. we are looking at those programmers coming up with schemes and your cats coming up with prohibitions. and i just do not see a fair fight. another example is those trying to talk about polling frequency, they can use that as part of the system that they are optimizing against. so what can be done? you could maybe have some effect. but i think it's very hard. the picture can change. i don't think it's part of the complete solution, but
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traditionally, one of the ways of the people constrain the government or other powers, it costs money to do things. it creates a constraint. so the police do not get to have this. they just go to an auto lot and say that they want some cars in the police department and they can do that. but instead they argue for taxes to pay for a budget and then they have to buy them like everyone else and it creates a constraint. if you have to pay money once you recognize this, all of a sudden you can't just do it without restraint. you have to strategize and prioritize. what it does is instead of just an automatic gathering of information to create a perfect scheme, it creates an honest situation in which you are using information to create a balance scheme. information is never free.
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it only reflects the reality of information. and that comes from people, information is always people in disguise. that is a philosophical point that we are going to. it creates a baseline that doesn't tend towards infinity because it is across the balance. so i think that monetizing information to a degree is actually friendly to civil liberties, friendly to creating balance in government. now, there are huge questions about how to do this. i don't pretend to have all the answers. let me just go over the topics about information cost them money instead of being free. one of the first questions is does this exclude people from access information.
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a lot of this is it means even the poor have access and opportunity and all that. i just want to point out that we have tried it. the middle class is sinking. wealth and power are concentrated in smaller numbers. every time you tweak a complaint you are reaching the 1%. it is having the opposite effect is what it was intended. so this is something that is interesting to me. if we look at how outcomes work, if i look at the people who do well in an information network that is connected around a central hub, like youtube or amazon or a kick starter or something where there is this one gathering point that everyone has to cycle through it, what you get is a tall tower and a long tail.
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tiny numbers of people who do well. that is cognitively problematic because people are primed to want to believe and hope. so going back to the 19th century, this is what was called a horatio alger story. the idea that since there are a few people that legitimately do well in the system, a lot of other people who are still living with their parents and running on hope and self funding have always been a hairs breath of success away. but they will not get it. this bugs me. there is a commonly held belief in this illusion of hundreds of thousands of musicians who are doing great because they can promote themselves online. i have gone out and tried to talk to the musicians and they are just a handful. the numbers are tiny. it is tokenism and it is not real. i'm struck that even the people
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at the top of the new regime, it is kind of like what used to be the middle class. so there's a girl that has a billion hits on youtube. she offers beauty and dating advice for young women. she is sort of like a cross between smokey and martha stewart. she is a giant of media. then there are all these articles about the successful mission has. what she's able to do is in her mid-20s, she is able to run a $1.1 million house in los angeles. if you talk about her grunting a house, that is what this huge crowd. you know, i think it is great for someone in their 20s that is doing well. especially considering, you know, how many people are
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starving in the world and do not have access to clean water. .. how and i think at some point i don't know when it will hit but a lot of people living on the fumes of hope will have pretty rough midlife crisis when it doesn't work out and it is a shame. is a tragedy waiting to happen. so at some point of the facebook regeneration, more likely their kids are going to say we are
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sick of this, we are sick of every financial scheme been a giants commuters trying to mediate the risks and sick of living on false hope. at some point people realize the price they're paying is too high. i hear the sort of terror about will have to pay for information, it took me to look of someone's facebook page. you go to stupid movies and people pay to go to jackass' movies, people pay for dumb stuff all the time, titanic gargantuan industries are based on wants instead of needs. talking about how this line shifts between wants and needs, cosmetics, professional sports. die-hard the know where to begin, a vast amount of the
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economy is based on taste and subjective values. there is no reason why there couldn't be a society in which we do get paid for social media, the other people do. what is the point of that? and here is where there is a leap of faith required. capitalism can work. markets can work. markets work when they start helping people coordinate to create more wealth and more positive effect for each other than they would have otherwise and when you have a market that grows as a result more people are better in the trading system that sharing system. that happened again and again and it is the real effect and is entirely appropriate especially for information network. so yes, you would be paying but you will also get paid. the nature of getting paid would be unlike any payment anyone has experienced before. we are used to the idea that you pay for stuff more often than
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you get paid. you only get paid every two weeks for your salary or whatever royalty check and always buying your coffee and spending in little drips and drabs. in this world you get a little dribs and drabs all the time and different people would find different little systems in which they would get paid. if you want a feeling for how much you ought to be paid is being stolen from you in information you can start keeping track of all the so-called discounts you get when you allow somebody to spy on you so look at your club card when you shop at groceries or the differential between what you spend in a year, but the frequent flyer programs and how much you would have to spend if you didn't belong to them and start to calculate a fair amount of money that if it were real money instead of just a bargain, if you were in control of that money might be making decisions that would put you into participation as a first-class citizen in a market that would be growing instead of
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concentrating well. if you look it the information people are interested in and in a connected network that doesn't go through a central hub, a very interesting effect comes out which is instead of a few superstars and he mediated long tail you see you see this is thickly connected thing where most people have a lot of interest to a lot of people. this is work that has been done by facebook to protect itself from critics who are saying it is actually centralizing influence or something, very interesting research but what it means, we would be seeing a middle-class home, something like facebook and this isn't shaking because it is just possible monetized information network would yield a kind of middle-class home in a new way. instead of all the little ragged systems which i will call levees in the book like a taxi medallions and cosmetology license and academic tenure and union membership and all these
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things there might be a natural distribution of wealth that would create a thicker middle. i have to say something about the middle class because i noticed a lot of my hip friends, even a little part of me are affronted by the term middle class because it means some sort of. what parent oriented horrible loss of hipness and that is everything we must renounce, i am talking about a different thing which is the issue of aristocracy that so occupied the founders of the united states. the key thing is to have a preponderance of people in the middle of outcomes of human life who collectively have more influence, that is what you need. the middle has to be able to out cloud the tip. you need that if you want a democracy, if there is an elite that cannot spend everybody else
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democracy becomes a jam. i am not happy with what is going on with money and politics in the u.s. lately. i don't know anybody who is but furthermore if you care about market dynamics, if you are libertarian you need exactly the same thing, you need the middle because otherwise you don't have customers. otherwise you end up with a petro states or plutocracy or oligarchs or some sort of fake futile system that is pretending to be a market but isn't. so the system where the middle is robust is absolutely essentials to every humane system of organizing human affairs that has ever appeared. you can count on some infinitely wise and charitable elite. this brings up another point which is i happen to think the silicon valley of wheat might be one of the nicest ever to appear in history. i think we are sweet but the
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thing is we can't let that enter into our thinking. you don't have to try to imagine the captains of silicon valley are villains or evil because they are not for the most part. i still think we are great. the problem is over time you don't know who will inherit the power and exhibit a sad the is h p which is the company that started the pattern for all of us, i am sorry for saying this and my condolences but this is normal and this will happen to every human institution. things go through periods of decadence and corruption. we have to plan a society with that kind of realism that there won't be some eat turn lead benevolent, pure and intelligent
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elite. every of meat is subject to degradation overtime. i am attempting a little sense broadly in the book which is experimental which is making myself vulnerable to get a point across. i could have stopped the book halfway through with a scathing critique of how power has been concentrated around big computers and could have stopped. i think a lot of pull people said what a cool book that talks about power anyway and it will get adopted a lot of school courses and humanities departments and what not and a lot of french scholars would like it. it would have this kind of thing, something that does that. even though i know for certain that my first solutions can't possibly be right, even though i know that i will read the stuff myself in ten years and think it was naive, how did i make that
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mistake about i lay my neck out before you because i think it is essential that we have the courage to be in perfect in our attempts to improve ourselves and i want to be first in line taking on that vulnerability but almost all of my friends to every technical and run the biggest computers in the world and program them are people of good will who are open to these ideas. i have found extraordinary warmth from everybody in silicon valley who talked about this stuff and even in the centers of finance, politics and spy masters and all these worlds of big computation, one of the good things about this moment is one of the more pleasant elites of history and is open-minded and we have an excellent shot at fixing this and the final thing i will say is humanity, we are at the point where we are inventing our own faith. we are not beholden to nature
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anymore, we change our own climate, we screwed ourselves over more than any other, we are in charge of ourselves and the only way we can see what we're doing to ourselves is with some data i've been talking about so you might say wouldn't it be better for the data to be free? it would be even better if our use of the data wasn't corrupted by the powers of free data combined with big computers so what we have seen now is almost perfect in ability to separate the truth we can discern from the data from the corruption of big data. climate science, the people who first deterrent -- discerned quote -- global climate change or subjected to wiki leaks like, their e-mails were leaked and conspiracy theorists poured over them. meanwhile the people who put out economic the aeries in support of austerity measures in response to financial scandals they base their stuff on bad
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programming and along time to get the stuff revealed so you could see it. so we have not established a way to fuse big data with credibility so people could really hear its method. we have not connected the date of the truth yet. as long as we are living our lives with these schemes that are intended to concentrate money and power through perfect investment, perfect schemes, demonic attempts to make everybody else take the risk and concentrate benefit, as long as we are living with that we are used to the idea of data being kind of nonsense. i was almost going to be a bad word but then i remembered i am on tv. for instance, we are happy with big data algorithms to recommend music for us, we listen to music without knowing who made it, we date people recommended by algorithms, perhaps the most intimate decisions we ever make.
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we do all this even though every time real science is applied we discovered these algorithms don't work. the algorithm is supposed to find you the perfect days are not scientifically valid. they might work because people who want to meet people are on these things. and organizationally contingent validity but the of the rhythms are nonsense. in the back of our mind we know it is a big game. my deepest hope is information costs money have to make it more carefully but give rise to businesses and use of information that took it more seriously and that might give rise to a culture that becomes able to discern truth from nonsense in big data and if we can't get their our survival is threatened so i view this as connected to the bigger picture how to make ourselves less in sane to make it through this crazy century that is ahead. so with that, i thank you so
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much for listening and i will take some questions. [applause] >> q&a will be great if you call for the lights. >> thank you for coming tonight. i have a question, you discussed rewarding people for putting bits of information into the system as a way to make the middle class more robust. how does i guess the creation of this informal economy, collaborative consumption set in to this model, for example instead of monetizing information we put into the system, monetizing our assets like renting out homes, renting our bicycles and power tools to
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have a second income, does this contribute to the idea of making the middle class more robust or do you uniquely mean information? >> similar things in the book. in general the informal economy is not a good thing. people in the ghettos of the world are trying to get out of informal economy is ending too formal ones. informal economy is our great, if you never get sick and always have paris to support you, in other words if you're not human. there is the illusion that people are information nodes. wealth is the opposite of an informal economy. it means you have some staying power of your own. in the case of something like
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that, many other schemes that are sending people who pretend to be taxi drivers or whatever the thing you will notice again and again is people running the big computers at the center of these schemes of what our risk, they say we are at arm's length and have nothing to do with it. problem is maxwell's demon all over again. they are kind of related in physics so what is happening is by trying to create this perfect system of the always wins no matter what happens on the ground, people who are in the informal economy have to take the risks themselves so you can rent out your place 10 or 20 or 30 times and nobody rips you off so something happens but there's no insurance scheme and no risk pull of people, no planning for the gradually because of the contingencies of life the always come up, sooner or later you will get bitten a new will be
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sick in your apartment but something will happen. as long as you have the informal economy is great but what needs to happen is you need to get away from the idea of a central hub that take no risk, organizing people into everybody taking a risk with no planning to manage that risk. there are various ways that can happen. my concern is when people say i will create an insurance service for people who rent out their apartments or give people rides those insurance things then become another example of a big computer that is trying to take no risk. the same pattern reappears again and again. the generalized way out is to have the information itself be monetized which is what insurance schemes are. insurance schemes monetize information or create risk pools to manage risk. if you can't make the leap to that sophistication than everybody is forced into in
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security. that is what informal economies are. next please. >> make this very short. i have been thinking about these issues and i thank you for making a brilliant presentation in a short time. my concern is in addition to technology which is what you have been voicing their is also the specter of education and personal health and what i mean is if you have a population that is not educated since grade 1 we all know the problem in this country is elementary education which is dismal and the problem of personal health and the food that we eat, the fact that was have been passed that make the world's biggest genetic feed manipulator not suitable anymore, if you have a population that is not well educated and not that healthy, how can that populations think for itself, and been itself away from using things like youtube
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or twitter or facebook for purely entertainment purposes? that is on one side and on the other side you need to bring in the people like the people running facebook, get them over to your kind of thinking because without that, they are not going to see the fallacy like you just said, they will not see through their own actions. my question is how do you -- how do we start to individually in this room and with our families, how do we take those baby steps? >> i have a lot of friends who are writers. around berkeley people like michael pailin and others who write about big issues that give you things you can do like the issue of food you can grow your food and coke and buy things intelligently and all this stuff. and part of me wants to do that with these things and i haven't found a good way to do it
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honestly. if i do i will write a book about that. the reason i haven't is a lot of things i can suggest, it is hard to address this because bottom of stuff precisely feeds the monster i am concerned about. like i was saying before every time you tweet about enriching the 1% you run into a conundrum and i am working on this problem of what you cannot do. if you are highly technical it is a different story. then you can do all kinds of stuff. if you know how to program you can operate your facebook privacy settings. if the base you can probably use all kinds of tools, you can use all this stuff. just as with if you want to change the food system just having your organic market where things cost ten times what any poor person can afford doesn't solve the big problem in the same way problems only technical
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people, could take advantage of, doesn't address anything. i am stuck at that point. i would like to solve it, proposals every single day, many from people who have ideas about this. i have to tell you i don't know how to answer your question. i want to know. >> glad to see that you mentioned marbles. >> you look like the marbles fan. >> thank you. i mention in new u.s. history class that i teach i noted how you go back to jefferson and the birth of america and the notion of the farmer. if everyone has a chance to get some land they can become independent. they can be their own boss. so sturdy and dependent, on your own land you can grow your own
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food and have a great family. are opposed to the class is this going to be possible with the internet? can we have millions of marbles? what i like about your work is you are sort of posing the question can the internet be a sort of virgin land that america was supposed to be when the first europeans arrived and went to slice and dice it up so each person can have their own plot to. timely problematic as to whether the internet can become that, though i like your idea very much that everybody should buy it sells by clicking on the internet. what do you think of that vision of the farmer, jeffersonian democracy. >> so much to say about this. brings a sum many points. the original design for
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networking was monetized, ted wilson's work starting in 1960 from before we knew how to make networks, the original idea for networking included much of what i am talking about and did was lost gradually in a series of tawdry incidents i described in the book, but the reason it happened was precisely because of this tradition in america and yet i grew up in the west, i grew up in an obscure part of southern new mexico in a place where the roads were still dirt and people wandered around with horses and rifles and the tail end of the old west and i can tell you there is a lot that is not great about world of people who are self made. it does favor the strong, it does create a kind of world of clans and mobs and gunslingers and stuff and it is not a pretty world. what happened in america in general in the american west in particular was the land was
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freed accept the native americans we pretended hadn't been there. to get your land you go through somebody's monopolize railroad transportation system and gradually we lost the romance and enter a world of monetize land instead of free land and real-estate and real-estate agents with their fines and everything and that world is less romantic and a little more nerdy or something but safer and more fair and better and create more wealth and coordination for people and it is a better world overall and in a sense that transformation as much as i like the romance of the birth of america the truth is the transformation to the america we know is probably not a bad precedent, not a bad model for what should happen to the world of information which might lose such romance but be better for most people. >> can we get a new deal?
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>> i don't want to -- i think if we're willing to have a world war then we get a new deal. i would rather not go there. >> i agree that a bottom up solution to changing things seems very difficult and so have you given any thought to meeting of minds of people who own big computers? have you given thought to how big a prototype would have to be in order to make it meaningful? could that possibly end up being stratify between people who produce quality information and people who consume kittens running into walls videos and things like that? >> two questions there.
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in the book i fantasize that people get together and create a new system and invent a cat to robot once we are confident we won't put tattoo artists out of work, some sort of weird event like the thing the happen at the google -- i propose a few different routes to wear something we have a transportation, it has changed. i am not pretending it will be easy. there might have to be -- i have to say how much financial suffering does it take until people realize the current financial regime is completely not working? how many times do we have to go through this? we did it with brendel securities and mortgages and student-and doing it with sovereign debt, again and again, how many times does this have to happen?
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it is like old song how many times must a big computer failed before we call it cracked. i don't know what the answer is or how long it takes before we realize this pattern isn't sustainable and the other question, i get this lot. a few people who make the good information and everybody else doesn't, i don't see empirically if i look at what people are interested in online they are interested in each other in a very general way. there's a middle class distribution where a preponderance of people get a medium amount of attention instead of everybody getting all the attention. it doesn't happen in a hub network like youtube but it happens with facebook. i am not convinced of that. i think we should give each other more credit until proven otherwise. i remain optimistic most people provide value in advanced world. in an advanced world everyone is dull and use 06 of the three people to program the thing. there's a lot of science fiction
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like that. that is the central idea in science fiction, one of the recurring themes. i don't see the evidence. i am more optimistic about people. i don't think that makes me naive. i'm trying to be realistic. i think we are overall more interesting and valuable than we give ourselves credit for. next. >> very interesting and open source people. and a different level of abstraction so you're talking the twenty-first century if i were to characterize the twenty-first century i think the main achievement is equalization of information of matter, information of matter, bending revolution of 3d printing will prove that to be the case. if you think of it this way, then when you talk about the
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value and information is the same thing as property so you own things. >> the way it would work, i go into 3d printers a lot. let's say 3d printing hits big and i hope the does because i think it is cool. every day you have a new outfit, you never do laundry because it is all recycled material, every gig you get a new guitar design. all those designs come from somewhere. it is not so much the owners of the object the people get paid for the designs. the key thing here is i have friends who have great careers, done very well for themselves being pull hunters. new york city is filled with them. they go to for neighborhoods and watch what for kids are wearing and translate that into expensive fashions. there is an incredibly broad base of people who come up with
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designs. the existing terminology is awkward but more like the service thing or design, not so much owning the object but the more 3d printers work or the more automated fabrication works, the less ownership means. that is a totally different question. that is a side show. to the people who contribute the of value, are they remembered and are they treated as being real or do we come of with an illusion to pretend they weren't there? >> let me ask a question. i do mean design, not the object because object becomes object. information and matter are the same thing, whoever is able to process sufficient amounts of information will become the most meaningful producer of wealth overtime. would you are trying to address is a tactical problem, only a
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matter a few 10s of years before machines do it better than humans. >> machines don't exist. it is only people pretending other people don't exist. you made huge logical error. you were doing great for a while and fell off a cliff. >> and number of futurists don't think that and clearly -- my question is exactly that, why? there's a whole train of thought that doesn't think the way you think. >> i know that. a lot of it, people are little crazy and very emotional. open source, i was present in the room when open source was born, richard solomon and i were friends. i remember him being so upset about the software for the list machine being held because of a little company going bankrupt and all these things and i
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understand the motion of it and i understand that my body ray criswell doesn't want to die, i understand it is nicer to think about a pristine perfect digital immortality, and i understand those emotions. we can't run our society entirely on our passions and years and terrors and that is what technical culture is coming to. let me open source. there's an interesting alternative to open source. there are two sort of domains. there is the proprietary software domain where you have these ridiculous licenses. i lampoon you in a book, it is ridiculous regime and everyone knows it is ridiculous and then this opens worse thing where you pretend people don't exist and you have the sort of monster creature you pretend is the
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smart electronic brain that is actually lowering everybody except whoever runs the biggest computer. there is the third alternative which is interesting which is every time code runs little microbe payments go back to the routine. that has never been given a fair chance. i like that because if you look at how it is built up tens of thousands of people contribute to it. if you look at the stack of a server how many contribute to that? if there were micro payments going out that is middle-class distribution. that is the middle class right there. that is the bulwark against elite tips that are currently forming around the use of those machines where they didn't pay for the software. this notion that you make open source, what you support is the gigantic google concentrations of wealth and power. it is failed idealism.
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we have to try this other alternative and if it worked, sir gay and larry would have made money from the search code and wouldn't have had a spike empire. that would not have been profitable to pay for the data. right now the internet is multiplied a huge number of times to support things like needless copies of files to avoid paying for them. that is a sin when you look at the carbon footprint of the internet and the greatest rewards are for the worst code and the worst use of machines and that is precisely what we're doing under the current regime. >> i am chilled by your analysis of the big picture. i come to the same conclusions myself but fair disclosure i work for the evil empire. >> is evil empire? microsoft's research always totally confuses me. i am going -- google or facebook now? >> not one of the big evil
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empire as just the community of evil empire. i sent to achieve a algorithm officer and a bunch of on line at companies, i get the mask and i am not worried about it. it seems most about the your thesis that ultimately in solving the problem whatever problem actually is is the question of sort of truth versus money, the truth of how things work and then the version of the truth that the powers that be find short-term profitable to have people believe collectively, the individual may not. the problem is getting and promulgating the truth isn't so easy. information is free at all, you got to pay the computers and programmers and data analysis and the writers and broadcasters, data aggregation is in the servers of google and walmart and not online pc so getting it all in one place is all that, broadcasting is that supported so somebody needs to be profiting, at every single point in talking about this and
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getting the word out, if this world changing message were in support of apple and google you would be filling the stadium, not having these people. broadly speaking there's a huge bias in the information business getting the word out, bias in favor of power and against the kind of message you're trying to spread. how can you overcome that? >> for what it is worth, i am out selling eric schmidt. the other thing is the answers of what to do instead is always the hard part and i don't want to overreach. we have a bit of time. my feeling about the time we have to fix this is fix it before automation gets really good, before all the cars drive themselves and everything is free the printed because that is when you see massive unemployment, we have to fix it not next week, we have a little bit of time.
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fairly specific in the book but also leave big questions open. i have been finding a wonderful reception, i will give this -- talk to friends about it. i am not on facebook. people on facebook are my friends. i don't have facebook friends in the vernacular of sense. this is another thing, there's such a confidence game, people run on fear so much that you have to feed the monster of informations systems so i am not on facebook or twitter, don't do frequent fliers, and i don't do -- i don't sign up for these things. i seem to be doing okay. everything seems to be fine so in a sense it might not be important but any way to answer your question i am finding a lot of good will and good reception and i am happy with how is going. the book has only been out for a week in the states, all little longer in the u.k. but it think it is doing well. >> even if the mass communications system is heartless and profit driven you
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made personal contact with people who matter and getting personal response. >> i knew them when they were zygotes. >> this is in a different direction may be but as far as the future of technology do you see as becoming ever more development on technologies as they go forward? like ray kurzweil? >> technology doesn't exist. you give me a computer and i ask you to find the one other thought experiment which is some marcion who knows nothing about human culture, that martians looks at the computer and can't tell whether it the issue is making patterns and radiating heat. without culture, technology doesn't exist. you have to know what it means. is not a freestanding thing. to the degree do we are dependent on technology we are pretending each other don't matter. it is saying the same thing.
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did the trick of thought, a piece of stage magic, it is phony. >> i get that. >> let me -- example of the translator, does that help? >> it has been a 20 year get since i last saw you. i saw you at you see statice, much younger. >> that was more than 20 years ago. on my 40th birth day i happened to be giving a lecture at the css apartment in stanford and there was a stanford freshman in the first row and he looked at the when i came in to give my seminar and said jaron lanier, you are still alive? that was 13 years ago. so yes. >> so i will ask one question
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which is can you speak to the two different human qualities you kind of touched on, hubris and humility and the role they may play in the vision you have for the future how we can participate in creating that future. >> hubris is interesting because i sort of feel like when silicon valley tries to be arrogant weekend quite pull it off because fundamentally we are kind of sweet nerd's but when we don't think we're being arrogant is when we are. that is the funniest thing. when you hang out with wall street people, then you see arrogance, or politicians, it is different. i don't know, there was this recent thing of political action committee that silicon valley's
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tried to start and plugged itself because it doesn't know -- doesn't even make sense. there's a sweetness to our culture. humility is not just a lack of bullying but actually requires the hard work of trying to see itself clearly and a constant process you never get to fully. i don't know how good i have gotten at it. i am at least trying to. it is an ongoing process. >> i am a parent of three kids. i ua parent? >> i am a parent. >> my question for you is my kids are kind of dekey kids, they're trying to figure out what is going on in the world and what they want to do and as parents what are your thoughts or advice trying to teach my children to be good loving people who are well-educated. do you have any advice on what kids are studying and besides being good people what do you think they should be doing to
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prepare? >> i don't know. my qualifications as a parent will become known to me when my daughter is an adult which will not be for a while. i can say a couple things. i am a little worried about how structured our kids's lives are when they go from play day to play day and everything is planned and in a way the structure of facebook is an extension of the play day from when you are a little kid because in the 90s when i would talk to teenagers in high school or undergraduates and say how many of you have websites? i made my website at the everything and now you ask and nobody, everybody goes to this pre structured thing where they are following the group laid out for them. it goes back to the jeffersonian questions that everybody goes into this restructured wife and
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i am a little worried. i love the way we can teach science where you can make your own robot or pretty soon you can make your own organism in bio class but there is this kid quality where everything is restructured and you don't hit raw reality, you don't hit the mystery of this place we are in directly so much because everything is so organized and so structured and i worry about that. that is not good for being a person or via site is and i am part of the problem. won't tell my daughter go play in the street because there are jerks driving around, not going to happen. i am denying her something. i don't know how to resolve that. the other thing i want to say is one of the rings of hell is filled with elementary school math teachers. i cannot believe how incredibly crappy the curriculum is. when my daughter was in kindergarten, she was in first
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grade, i went to pick her up and all the little girls were arguing about it i may say so as to the social crack. so and so likes so and so. anyway i am sure i betrayed some kind of mail blindness is something. this time i came in and they were arguing whether in finnerty was the number or a weird idea. they were making excellent arguments and really thinking about it. those little girls are arguing about whether infinity is the number, got to do something with this but addition is that, and just blows my mind, it blows my mind the natural curiosity of children around ideas in math isn't something that we seize upon. i don't know what to do about it. one of the things i talk about in the book is no child left behind testing regime is another one of these things where somebody is concentrating on a
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big computer and every time you see this you see a rise of phoniness where the test doesn't measure anything important, you see cheating or the information becomes suspect. all the same things we see in the dating sites and finance sights and everything else where information becomes unreliable as it concentrates power. we see it in education now so the same influence is happening there and it bugs me. >> i know it has been 25 years since my company worked with your company trying to produce a virtual reality consul using your glasses and gloves. >> is calm here? tom, i think he is a research fellow now. >> a game developers conference and i was surprised to see the way it was written was big news, $10,000 device for that
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equipment and got $0.25 chip. where do you see this as a resurgence of virtual reality coming back? >> i have been around for a while and for jewelry already over three years or so is this a wave and i hope it does great. it is really cool. obviously when i was a kid trying to do this stuff it is pull that it is expensive these days and i hope they do wonderfully. >> like the google glasses. >> a bunch of my buddies at google work on it and it is a pull device. the problem is not the glass, it is the business plan google is stuck with that makes it creepy. someone asked before, am i saying things that are against the interests of apple and google and facebook and amazon and i am absolutely convinced what i am saying is in all of our interests including the before running the big computers because ultimately we are
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undermining our own source of wealth. it is short-term gain vs. long-term gain. so right now, when kodak employed 140,000 people with good middle-class jobs, one of them -- at my talk awhile ago, 13 people worth $1 billion, i don't mind success. died of being successful, tons of french as successful and i applaud that. but we should create our access through growing the economy, not shrinking get. right now we're concentrating money, shrinking the economy which will come and beit as as it always does when you use a perfect computer to make a perfect scheme. in this world facebook and avalanche do glenville arrest would actually do better than they are doing because they would be part of a growing economy instead of one that is being frozen down into a perfect scheme. i am absolutely on the side of the winners of silicon valley.
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i applaud success. i want to see more of it. thanks for coming. [applause] >> you are watching booktv on c-span2, 48 hours of nonfiction authors and books every weekend. >> you are watching booktv on c-span2. here is our prime time lineup for tonight. starting at 7:00 p.m. eastern, a history of greenwich village. then the story of a secret rescued during world war ii. at 9:00 eastern, the hack prize lecture and at 10:00 eastern, carl karcher joins us on afterwards to talk about his book highpriced, a narrow scientist's journey of self discovery that challenges everything you know about drugs in society. and we conclude tonight's prime-time programming and:00
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eastern with kevin williams and. his book is the end is near and it is going to be awesome. visit for more on this weekend's television schedule. >> here's a look at some books being published this week. the skies belong to us, and the bold and terror, contributing editor recounts the 1970 hijacking of a u.s. airliner. james o'keefe chronicles his undercover investigation in breakthrough:guerrilla war to expose fraud and save democracy. bruce katz, vice president and director of the metropolitan policy program, and the brookings institution and jennifer bradley, a fellow at the brookings metropolitan policy program, cities taking on issues the federal government that won't in the metropolitan revolution. and fixing broken politics and
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fragile economy. and a former reporter for reuters in moscow investigate russian president vladimir putin's rise to power and his impact on russia's political system in fragile empire:how russia fell in and out of love with vladimir putin. rewired digital cosmopolitan in the age of connection, media scholar even zuckerman argues the internet is creating a social disconnect and offers solutions to create more connected global community. look for these titles in bookstores this coming week and watch for the authors in the near future on booktv and on >> what are you reading this summer? booktv wants to know. >> i have a lot of history and biography that i am reading. book i am reading currently and half way through is called indispensable:it is a book by a
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harvard professor, it is an excellent book, basically has this leadership filtration theory where there are filters, well-known politicians who show up in the ranks and others who are obscure and come for through the are unpredictable as a result because they are not as well-known. lincoln was such a leader, unfiltered and one term in congress was an obscure figure from illinois. when he got in the white house he was unpredictable and yet proved to be one of the best leaders in the history of the united states. that is not always the case but is a fascinating pherae where he applies the theory to a number of leaders like jefferson and wilson and winston churchill, it is a great read and i am halfway through. some books i recently read, evan thomas is a great writer and a
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great biographer. eisenhower was not appreciated as he should have been, he admitted to his madness, though he might have seemed to be a bumbler and not in charge, secretly actually was quite shrewd and very much in charge and do what he was doing. i have to admit having read the whole book and being open to that, actually he doesn't mean to but kind of proves the opposite. this book tells you eisenhower once very serious illness, heart disease, and was often very disengaged from his own cabinet, delegated a lot of his foreign policy to john foster, secretary of state. it is an interesting book but he disproved his own thesis. another book, really important to me, i served in the senate in
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many of the years covered called the last great asset, a number of senators, what he thinks is a golden age in the senate in the 60s and sanity and 80s, characters like ted kennedy and jacob javits and robert bird who got things done, who reached across the aisle, were willing to break with their own party orthodoxy, the moaning we don't do that anymore nt documents how much got done with that spirit of collaboration and compromise. 8381 by charles springer is a fascinating account of history in which he posits that the notions of christian orthodoxy really work imposed not by church leaders but leaders of
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the state where the state directly intervened and convening councils of bishops and insisted on certain precepts of orthodoxy and from that flowed the concept of what constituted heresy. it was the emperor. those -- emperor theodosia to change that point of view. and silent descend squelch sort of intellectual foment in the church about competing theories of theology and led to the persecution of people who deviated from orthodoxy over the centuries. so it is a fascinating account of early christian history and the consequences that flow from the ashes of the emperor theodosia s who was a westerner of originally. there is a wonderful new book
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called the generals, he is the author of one of the best single volumes on the invasion of iraq, brilliant book. this one is a historical book about how generals were promoted and demoted, his thesis is the george c. marshall. served as army chief of staff, a joint chiefs of staff under fdr during world war ii removed many generals from if they were not to the job. he insisted on performance. the reassignment is something else, gives him a second chance but with impunity removed people until he found the right person for the right job and that culture of accountability and
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responsibility as very much been diluted in subsequent periods, a subset by vietnam, performance seems to be very small criteria when it came to appraisal of generals and there were very few consequences for for performance, he highlights general westmorland who was in charge of the vietnam record for a very long period of time as a quintessential example of that and argues of to the present day the same is true and it is very injuries to the u.s. military and has real implications in terms of u.s. defense and national security policy, a controversial book and one that is thought-provoking and worth reading. a book recently read is a book called the conservative assault on the constitution by an attorney who practices the supreme court, in this book he
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documents the conservative assault on many facets of american life from education to civil-rights to personal liberties to corporate law, and his theory is that this is a concerted ideological assault on liberty and on constitutional principles and are radically many folks on the conservative side hold of the constitution and say we believe on the constitution. this is the opposite argument that they are a danger to constitutional liberties and many of the precepts we care very much about as the country. thought-provoking and very good book. two books i have not yet read but very excited about, one is the guns of last light, the third book in the trilogy on the western theater of world war ii, rick atkinson of the washington
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post, brilliant luminescence writer. his first two volumes were extraordinary. the first was a book on but north african campaign and the american involvement in that and the second was the sicily and italy campaign right up until 1945, very brutal part of the war that gets overlooked. the third volume the guns at last light chronicles the invasion of normandy right up to the liberation of berlin. that is next on my list to read and a colleague, the bonding rivals, this is a book about the rivalry between madison and monroe, a little-known piece of virginia history but actually madison and monroe ran against each other for united states congress and the district had
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been carved to favored james monroe. madison decided to contest this and in an upset he beat james monroe who was a friend of his, stayed a friend and succeeded him as president. this is quite an interesting book and it contends that because madison won that election we got the bill of rights. otherwise maybe we wouldn't have gotten it because champion debtors madison was a champion of that. this election had great consequences. not a well-known piece of virginia history but a critical piece of virginia history. it is a book i am looking forward to reading this summer. >> let us know what you are reading this summer, tweet us at booktv, posted on our facebook page or send us an e-mail at ..
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